Top Ten

June 30, 2010

uSask proposes new phase of shopping development on property

The University of Saskatchewan is looking to add a fourth phase to the Preston Crossing shopping development that has been built on university lands. In May, uSask's board of governors approved an application to have the site for the proposed fourth phase rezoned for retail. The application has been handed to the shopping centre's developer, who has applied to Saskatoon city council for the rezoning of the site. uSask's director of corporate administration says the institution is interested in developing another phase of Preston Crossing as it would result in more funds for scholarships. Since 2005, $5.7 million in funds for undergraduate and graduate scholarships has been generated by revenue from the big-box shopping centre. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Brandon U board approves 5-year strategic plan

At a meeting last week, Brandon University's board of governors unanimously approved the BUILD 2010 strategic plan, which is set to direct the institution for the next 5 years. The plan's thematic key directions and objectives focus on student success, academic and teaching excellence, graduate studies and research, promotion and accountability, social responsibility, and infrastructure and support. Objectives outlined under the area of student success include developing best practices in all aspects of student recruitment, enhancing and developing new policies and programs targeted toward the success of Aboriginal students and non-traditional learners, and expanding and enhancing support and retention strategies for students. Brandon U News Release | Read the strategic plan

NOSM develops 5-year strategic plan

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine has also launched a new strategic plan to guide the institution's progress through 2010 to 2015. NOSM's new vision -- Innovative Education and Research for a Healthier North -- is supported by a mission to enhance the school's mandate for the education of high-quality physicians and health professionals, and reinforce its international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centred, community-engaged education and health research. The plan calls for 5 strategic priorities: enhancing NOSM's education program, strengthening its research initiatives, developing its learning environment, fostering excellent faculty relations, and enhancing collaboration and communication with community partners. NOSM News Release | Read the strategic plan

The Scientist names uAlberta, Dal among best places to work

The University of Alberta and Dalhousie University are listed among the top 10 international academic institutions in The Scientist's annual Best Places to Work in Academia rankings. uAlberta placed 6th, and Dal ranked 10th. Institutions were ranked based on unweighted average scores for 8 categories of statements included in the survey: job satisfaction, peers, infrastructure and environment, research resources, pay, management and policies, teaching and mentoring, and tenure and promotion. Best Places to Work in Academia 2010 | CanWest News Service

"Be Engaged" at uWaterloo

A trio of University of Waterloo staff have created a website designed to bring together staff and faculty who share a passion for student engagement and are committed to providing every uWaterloo student with an outstanding experience. The site, called "Be Engaged," stems from a presentation its developers, who work in housing and the student life office, made at the uWaterloo staff conference in April. As part of their presentation, the 3 staff members hosted a focus group of current uWaterloo students and asked them about how engaged they are with their community on campus (a video of the focus group is available on the site). The site includes a list of resources on student engagement and a forum to discuss the topic. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin | Be Engaged

Kwantlen launches new website

Kwantlen Polytechnic University unveiled a redesigned website about a month ago to reflect a more modern, functional, and visually appealing design. The new-look site is the first phase of a larger overall plan as Kwantlen is in the midst of an institutional-wide strategic visioning, planning, and rebranding process. A key part of the redesign was to simplify the homepage and take a more student-centred approach to the information architecture, navigation, writing, content, and other key Web strategies. Visitors to the homepage can click on the "success stories" tab to access testimonials from current students, faculty, and alumni. The homepage features a link to Kwantlen's "Digital Café," a hub for the institution's social media resou rces. Kwantlen website

Mount Allison updates virtual tour

Mount Allison University has revised its virtual campus tour, which has been designed to be personalized, interactive, and easily adaptable. The virtual tour has been designed as a replication of what prospective students will actually see when they get to the university. Designed as a "self-service experience" that caters to every use, the virtual tour allows students to consume information in a number of different ways, from selecting specific areas on campus to match their interests to scrolling through the entire portal from A to Z. The virtual tour includes feeds and links to Mount Allison's social media sites as well as featured university news and press mentions. Mount Allison News Release | Mount Allison Virtual Tour

High school graduation rate rises in Alberta

Alberta's education ministry reports that the province's high school completion rate increased in 2009, rising to 71.5% from 70.8% in 2008. While the education minister says the government is very happy with the direction the graduation rate is going, "it's not good enough, yet." Even with the improvement, Alberta lags behind most other provinces. According to Statistics Canada's most recent figures, 65.6% of Alberta teens graduated on time in 2008, compared to 71% nationally. The Alberta government aims to increase the completion rate to 81% by 2012-13 and to 90% long-term. Alberta News Release | Calgary Herald

CU-Boulder enrolment projection drops due to software glitches

Officials at the University of Colorado at Boulder say glitches with a new student information system slowed down the admissions process this year, possibly leading to a smaller first-year class for this fall. Officials estimate there will be 300 fewer first-year students this fall over last year, despite an 8% increase in applications. The student information system was incompatible with some areas of the university's online admissions software, which required admissions counsellors to manually process applications, delaying decisions for early applicants from January to February. While the university cannot put an exact number of how many incoming first-year students it lost to other institutions because of the late announcements, it believes it factors into the expected enrolment drop that comes on the heels of increased applications. Boulder Daily Camera

US senate committee investigates student-loan defaults

A student of a for-profit college who graduated from an unaccredited program with over $20,000 in debt was one of several witnesses testifying last week before the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the hearing focusing on federal investment in for-profit education. A report recently released by the committee's chairman found that up to 90% of for-profit colleges' revenue comes from Washington, and that for-profit students are graduating with more debt than their peers at public or private non-profit institutions. With 96% of for-profit students taking out loans, and close to half of them defaulting, taxpayers foot the bill. Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, cautions that federal student and default data itself is not reliable and cannot be used in its current state to guide regulations. The chairman's report indicates there is no information available on how private schools spend Higher Education Act student-assistance dollars. Time magazine